Coimeadai, p.1Christopher Ross
By Christopher Ross
Copyright 2012 Christopher Ross
From the ashes of loss comes a hunter
My daughter is a vampire. Yeah I know, not exactly what I imagined for her when she was a little girl. But these last few years have not been what I imagined when I thought of….well…..reality. Lines blur as far as what you thought would or could happen, and what is actually possible. My little girl IS a vampire. I hunt monsters full-time now. I have a bounty on my head from a council of night creatures. And I am dead. Ok, not really dead but according to the records, I died 2 years ago in a house fire. My wife also died in that same fire. At least that is the official version of the story. The truth is, she was already dead and was trying to kill me. See what I mean about the lines blurring? Only a few people, who knew me before, know I am still alive. My sons know. My oldest son lives in rural north Georgia. My younger son works as an engineer for a defense contractor. I have enemies and so they have to pretend. But they help as much as they can. Travis, my middle child, has come up with some amazing weapons to fight the various boogiemen, or is it boogie persons? Hard to be politically correct about creatures that slaughter us like cattle. He also gets us most of our initial traces on things happening. Oddly, the murder of humans by creatures of the night doesn’t get much media attention. But it does get reported if you know where to look and have the access or the ability to see those reports. And until I get the one who put a price on my head, this is what I do. An old friend knows I am still alive. He was a gunsmith as a hobby. Now he loads silver bullets in his basement. Again with the blurred lines. And finally, another old friend, a librarian, knows. Who’d have thought a librarian would be a key member of a group that hunts down and destroys monsters. But good information is key. If you think someone is a monster, you gotta make sure. While no one minds monsters dying, the authorities tend to get a little bent out of shape at slaughtered civilians. And how to kill them or what their weaknesses are is critical to my work. Taking a wooden stake after a werewolf is a mistake you will only make once. Not all of the creatures of the night are evil. That was a tough lesson for me to learn, even though my daughter is one of them, and was saved by another of them. Some are just night folk, trying to get by in their life. I know a werewolf named Bernie. He has a cell in his basement where he hides while he transforms. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone. He just wants to make a living as an artist. His scheduling is tough, but he manages.
My daughter was made a vampire to save her from being a werewolf. How would you like to make that choice? But the choice was really about not being the slave of an evil man. She is being mentored by another member of this little band of mayhem, Gweneth. Gweneth is an old vampire. She was born in Scotland in 1623 and turned by the son a Scottish nobleman. She is also a Solitaire, meaning she doesn’t hold with the politics of the undead or cater to the whims of the Consiglio del clan della notte. That is the group that supposedly rules her kind. The name means Council of the Clans of the Night. Not a real cheerful bunch.
And I am Gweneth’s coimeadai. Loosely translated it makes me her keeper. Think of an independent Renfield without the insanity and unseemly dietary habits. There is a four step process to creating an independent vampire. I’ve been through two of them. If I go through two more steps I become one of them, but for now I am still human. Being a coimeadai gives me some added physical abilities, a mental connection to Gweneth, and a sort of sense for the supernatural creatures or powers. The upside is amazing health. The downside is that, at some point, I will get these black spots gradually appearing on my body, and about a month later I go from robust heath to being utterly decrepit and dying of multiple organ failure. Gweneth assures me that is, at least, decades away. Besides, I needed all the help I could get. I’m not looking for jaywalkers.
I wanted someone to know the story. You know, in case something happens to me. Or to set the foundation for my insanity plea if things ever go south. I’ve still got work to do. There are monsters in the world. And they are not in the closet or under the bed.
It started when my first wife was getting remarried in Vermont. She is from up there. Well, that and its one of the few states that allow two women to marry each other. Yeah I know, but that is another long story.
I remember the morning mists clinging to the Green Mountains as the road rolled out before me. I remember the feel of the wind on my face, the roar of the bike, and the feeling of freedom that always comes with a ride. The mountains were in full bloom and covered in the new golden green of spring. I was later than I had planned, but that was typical and I wasn’t worried. Finally the turnoff for Clarendon Vermont was in sight. I geared down and eased the bike on to the small country road and pulled into the parking lot of the only motel in town. After I shut down the motor and removed my helmet the sudden silence seemed louder than the V-twin. But the morning breeze felt good as I ran my fingers through my hair. I knew it had to look like hell, but I had wanted to get in one more long ride before winter made me park the bike. “Well I was wondering if you’d make it or not” it was a familiar voice. My son Travis was stepping out of one of the motel rooms. His hair was a barely tamed pile of curls and his grin lit up his face, the tall young man walked over and gave me a hug. “We have to go and get our tuxedos fitted today, remember?” Travis reminded me. “Its great to see you too, but how about breakfast first?” I asked. “Sounds good,” Travis replied, “where is Kristy?” he asked. Kristy was my second wife, and the kids had accepted her as a second mom. “Her dad is back in the hospital, I told her to stay and take care of things there” I explained. Taking Travis’s hybrid car, we headed down Route 84 to the Waffle House in Rutland. Our fast broken with grease, syrup and strong coffee, we continued chatting about the wedding, Travis’s work at NASA, my work as a lineman, and the general world of Vermont. Returning to an earlier topic, I asked “So no one has seen or heard from Justin?”. Travis shook his head. “It’s weird, he was due back from Germany last week and should have come straight up here from New York”, remarked Travis. “Mom’s getting more worried, and she is stressed enough as it is”, he added.
“I haven’t talked to him on the phone in at least a month”, I said, “But I caught him online about a week ago and he seemed fine”. “He seemed excited about the research and about some journal that he was working with” I continued, “But nothing seemed out of the ordinary”. Travis nodded, “He probably just got buried in work and forgot what month it is”. Travis laughed, “either that or he finally broke something too expensive to apologize for”. We both laughed at Justin’s renowned clumsiness. He is my oldest and in many ways a copy of me, but he inherited his mother’s clumsiness. He looks nothing like how the world expected an anthropologist/linguist to look. He was the tallest in the family at 6’5” and built more like a linebacker than an academic. Large as he was, Justin was a lover of books and all things ancient and mysterious. A man of strong faith, he spent his vacations doing mission work in the poorest places on earth. I could easily see him hunched over some dusty old tome, translating a dead language and forgetting the modern world. But I still worried. Travis snatched and paid the tab and we went to try on tuxedos. The rest of the morning was spent joking, talking and trying on various pieces of formal attire that seemed designed to cause discomfort in the most elegant ways.
Arriving at my ex-mother-in-laws, I was struck with a sense of the years that had flown since I was last here. Visiting just after our first child was born, Dawn and I had been so young. The future was out in front of us and our plans were bright and grand. How things change over almost 3 decades. I walked into the house a
“Well look what the cat dragged in”, said a voice from the kitchen. Ann Whelen held her arms open for a hug from her former son-in-law. She was still the small, spry woman I remembered, with more grey than dark hair, and a few more lines than I remembered, but the same strength and mirth lit her eyes. “You two go in the living room, I’ll bring
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